Every nation gets the government it deserves

Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite

Every nation gets the government it deserves

Joseph de Maistre

Every sane politician would promise justice for the murder victim, simply to calm the public. They might be lying about bringing justice, but they would say it nonetheless, just to salvage the situation.

The democratically-elected US President says nothing, and wants to suppress the protests in the way he criticises China and Hong Kong for using.

Elections solve nothing, if the right decisions are not made.

Because if you choose populism over competence, you get incompetent leaders (USA).
Because if you choose special rights over integrity, you get corrupt leaders (Malaysia).

Democracy is not a cure, it is only a vector. If the candidates are all trash, the resulting government will be trash. If the electorate keeps on choosing trash, the trash won’t turn into gold just because it’s democratically elected.

Selling 2nd hand: tips from a buyer’s perspective

(This post is part of the Sustainable Living series)

(This post is part of the COVID-19 stay home activity series)

Selling your items 2nd hand is a much better alternative to throwing them away. At least someone else can still make use of them.

Now that many people are spending more time at home and retail stores are closed, online 2nd hand sales are getting more popular. Sellers have more time to sort through their belongings and post items for sale, and buyers are looking online for bargains.

Here are some tips for sellers of 2nd hand items, from a buyer’s perspective. Understanding a buyer’s mindset will help you to sell. This is what I look out for when buying 2nd hand:

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Watch OUR PLANET documentary series free on Youtube

(This post is part of the COVID-19 stay home activity series)

Watch acclaimed documentary series Our Planet on Youtube. Full episodes are available officially, free of charge!

Skip air travel this year, reduce your carbon emissions, stay home and watch.

(Note: This series is funded by Netflix but made by the BBC “Planet Earth” crew including the one and only David Attenborough as narrator.)

Full playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLe2nGhEGXFVuwS0G15adnT3vQfNBCqjbJ

Economic impact of COVID-19: some thoughts

Disclaimer: I have zero education in economic theory. I didn’t even take A-Level Economics. Everything in this post is based on observation and logical reasoning from a layman perspective.

Some thoughts for the economic impact of COVID-19 in the year 2020 CE (Coronavirus Era):

1. We are not sinking yet because of support measures

Currently, there are a lot of support measures such as rental waivers, payouts for lost/reduced income, etc. This is the reason why the Singapore population has not been hit by a mass wave of bankruptcy, poverty and homelessness.

Most companies would not be able to pay all their staff full wages if they have zero revenue for a prolonged period. Some industries like cinemas, spas and tourism will be closed for 3 months or even longer.

2. There will be a ‘final wave’ of economic problems after the COVID-19 situation improves

Some forms of business relief only provide for a suspension of penalties, and not a full waiver of obligations. For example, if you took a loan to buy a machine, the bank cannot seize the machine because you are unable to pay the instalments. However, the unpaid instalments plus interest will still be payable after the suspension expires.

If a company was counting on routine monthly profits in order to pay off the loan, where is it going to find the money if it is closed for months? When the COVID-19 situation ends, it will face a pile of accumulated debt with little or no profits to pay it off.

For construction companies, they may not face penalties for delayed completion, but will have to take an additional 2-3 months to complete their construction work. This incurs additional costs in terms of workers’ wages and equipment rental charges. Will they be able to absorb these costs?

These economic problems will surface AFTER the pandemic, when the support measures expire. So we should not assume that the economy will improve along with the disease situation. It could be the opposite!

3. Some forms of business will become unprofitable and have to close anyway

Singapore is a densely-populated city and property costs are high. Some businesses rely on large crowds of customers, which will not be possible under proposed social distancing measures and limits on group sizes.

For example, some concerts will not be profitable if the audience size is limited and hence fewer tickets are sold. Mass events like Anime Festival Asia may be downsized or cancelled if expected visitor figures are too low. Cafes and pubs which emphasise the dine-in experience will also suffer if they have to reduce seating capacity.

The budget airline model of 薄利多销 (low profit margin and high volume) will most likely be unsustainable in the near future due to restrictions on international travel. Many airlines will not be quick to add capacity after the pandemic.

4. We will start finding out which companies have been cooking their books

The Madoff Ponzi scheme ran for almost 20 years, but collapsed during the late-2000s financial crisis due to sudden investor withdrawals. Similarly, oil-trading firm Hin Leong was recently found to have hidden losses for the past few years, only becoming unsustainable during this year’s oil price drop.

During good times, such wrong-doing can be disguised, but during financially stressful situations like now, things are going to unravel. Be prepared for more skeletons in closets to be revealed.

Gackt RRII re-enactment of SCP-763 “Human Beowulf Cluster”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=309Bskwlwro

The video description says “FACE 2 FACE 53:15〜” but what it really shows is a sped-up re-enactment of the SCP Foundation‘s SCP-763 absorbing a bunch of humans. Creepy.

(Back to reality) Several of Gackt’s live concerts have been posted in full to his official Youtube channel so watch them while they’re still online! I would have enjoyed this one more if GacktBorg-9000’s mechanical sounds didn’t distract from the music so much.

In chronological order from year 2000 to 2018: